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SQL PL/SQL Interview Questions


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What special operators does Oracle provide for dealing with NULLs?

NVL - Converts a NULL to another specified value, as in:

my_var := NVL (your_var, 'Hello');

IS NULL
and IS NOT NULL

You can use this syntax to check specificaly to see if a variable's value is NULL or NOT NULL.


Explain three different rules that apply to NULLs when doing comparisons?

1. For all operators except for concatenation (||), if a value in an expression is a NULL, that expression evaluates to NULL

2. NULL is never equal or not equal to another value

3. NULL is never TRUE or FALSE

What command would you use to encrypt a PL/SQL application?

WRAP


Explain the difference between a FUNCTION, PROCEDURE and PACKAGE.

A function has a return type in its specification and must return a value specified in that type. A procedure does not have a return type in its specification and should not return any value, but it can have a return statement that simply stops its execution and returns to the caller.


What steps are included in the compilation process of a PL/SQL block?

The compilation process includes syntax checking, binding, and p-code generation. Syntax checking involves checking PL/SQL code for compilation errors. After syntax errors have been corrected, a storage address is assigned to the variables that are used to hold data for Oracle. This process is called binding. Next, p-code is generated for the PL/SQL block. P-code is a list of instructions to the PL/SQL engine. For named blocks, p-code is stored in the database, and it is used the next time the program is executed.

How does a syntax error differ from a runtime error?

A syntax error can be detected by the PL/SQL compiler. A runtime error occurs while the program is running and cannot be detected by the PL/SQL compiler.

A misspelled keyword is an example of a syntax error. For example, this script:

BEIN
DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE ('This is a test');
END;

contains a syntax error. Try to find it.

A SELECT INTO statement returning no rows is an example of a runtime error. This error can be handled with the help of the exception-handling section of the PL/SQL block.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsDefine Commit, Rollback and Savepoint.

When a COMMIT statement is issued to the database, the transaction has ended, and the following results are true:

. All work done by the transaction becomes permanent.

. Other users can see changes in data made by the transaction.

. Any locks acquired by the transaction are released.

When a ROLLBACK statement is issued to the database, the transaction has ended, and the following results are true:

. All work done by the transaction is undone, as if it hadn’t been issued.

. Any locks acquired by the transaction are released.

The ROLLBACK statement undoes all the work done by the user in a specific transaction. With the SAVEPOINT command, however, only part of the transaction can be undone.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsExplain Implicit and Explicit cursors

Oracle automatically declares an implicit cursor every time a SQL statement is executed. The user is unaware of this and cannot control or process the information in an implicit cursor.

The program defines an explicit cursor for any query that returns more than one row of data. This means that the programmer has declared the cursor within the PL/SQL code block. This declaration allows the application to sequentially process each row of data as the cursor returns it.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsHow an Implicit cursor works?

  1. Any given PL/SQL block issues an implicit cursor whenever a SQL statement is executed, as long as an explicit cursor does not exist for that SQL statement.
  2. A cursor is automatically associated with every DML (data manipulation) statement (UPDATE, DELETE, INSERT).
  3. All UPDATE and DELETE statements have cursors that identify the set of rows that will be affected by the operation.
  4. An INSERT statement needs a place to receive the data that is to be inserted into the database; the implicit cursor fulfills this need.
  5. The most recently opened cursor is called the SQL cursor.


SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsHow an Explicit cursor works?

The process of working with an explicit cursor consists of the following steps:

1. Declaring the cursor. This initializes the cursor into memory.

2. Opening the cursor. The declared cursor is opened, and memory is allotted.

3. Fetching the cursor. The declared and opened cursor can now retrieve data.

4. Closing the cursor. The declared, opened, and fetched cursor must be closed to release the memory allocation.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsWhat are Explicit Cursor attributes


%NOTFOUNDcursor_name%NOTFOUNDA Boolean attribute that returns TRUE if the previous FETCH did not return a row and FALSE if it did.
%FOUNDcursor_name%FOUNDA Boolean attribute that returns TRUE if the previous FETCH returned a row and FALSE if it did not.
%ROWCOUNT cursor_name%ROWCOUNTThe number of records fetched from a cursor at that point in time.
%ISOPEN cursor_name%ISOPENA Boolean attribute that returns TRUE if the cursor is open and FALSE if it is not.


SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsAnswer any three PL/SQL Exceptions?

Too_many_rows,
No_Data_Found,
Value_Error,
Zero_Error,
Others

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsWhat are PL/SQL Cursor Exceptions?

Cursor_Already_Open, Invalid_Cursor

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsWhat is the maximum number of triggers, can apply to a single table?

12 triggers.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsWhat is a mutating table error and how can you get around it?

This happens with triggers. It occurs because the trigger is trying to update a row it is currently using. The usual fix involves either use of views or temporary tables so the database is selecting from one while updating the other.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsWhat packages (if any) has Oracle provided for use by developers?

Oracle provides the DBMS_ series of packages. There are many which developers should be aware of such as DBMS_SQL, DBMS_PIPE, DBMS_TRANSACTION, DBMS_LOCK, DBMS_ALERT, DBMS_OUTPUT, DBMS_JOB, DBMS_UTILITY, DBMS_DDL, UTL_FILE. If they can mention a few of these and describe how they used them, even better. If they include the SQL routines provided by Oracle, great, but not really what was asked.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsDescribe the use of PL/SQL tables

PL/SQL tables are scalar arrays that can be referenced by a binary integer. They can be used to hold values for use in later queries or calculations. In Oracle 8 they will be able to be of the %ROWTYPE designation, or RECORD.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsWhen is a declare statement needed?

The DECLARE statement is used in PL/SQL anonymous blocks such as with stand alone, non-stored PL/SQL procedures. It must come first in a PL/SQL stand alone file if it is used.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsIn what order should a open/fetch/loop set of commands in a PL/SQL block be implemented if you use the %NOTFOUND cursor variable in the exit when statement? Why?

OPEN then FETCH then LOOP followed by the exit when. If not specified in this order will result in the final return being done twice because of the way the %NOTFOUND is handled by PL/SQL.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsWhat are SQLCODE and SQLERRM and why are they important for PL/SQL developers?

SQLCODE returns the value of the error number for the last error encountered. The SQLERRM returns the actual error message for the last error encountered. They can be used in exception handling to report, or, store in an error log table, the error that occurred in the code. These are especially useful for the WHEN OTHERS exception.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsHow can you find within a PL/SQL block, if a cursor is open?

Use the %ISOPEN cursor status variable.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsHow can you generate debugging output from PL/SQL?

Use the DBMS_OUTPUT package. Another possible method is to just use the SHOW ERROR command, but this only shows errors. The DBMS_OUTPUT package can be used to show intermediate results from loops and the status of variables as the procedure is executed. The new package UTL_FILE can also be used.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsWhat are the types of triggers?

There are 12 types of triggers in PL/SQL that consist of combinations of the BEFORE, AFTER, ROW, TABLE, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE and ALL key words:
BEFORE ALL ROW INSERT
AFTER ALL ROW INSERT
BEFORE INSERT
AFTER INSERT etc.

SQL PL/SQL Interview QuestionsHow can I define a two-dimensional array of numbers in PL/SQL?

Although PL/SQL does not natively support the declaration and manipulation of multidimensional arrays, you can emulate these structures using nested collection definitions, which were first supported in Oracle9i Database Release 1.

Here is a brief example to get you started and introduce you to some of the challenges you may encounter as you use collections in this way.

First, create a collection of associative arrays.

CREATE OR REPLACE PACKAGE twodim_aa
IS
TYPE data_t IS TABLE OF NUMBER
INDEX BY PLS_INTEGER;

TYPE array_t IS TABLE OF data_t
INDEX BY PLS_INTEGER;
END twodim_aa;
/

The first, inner collection—data_t—contains the data for each cell in the two-dimensional array. Each row in the outer collection—array_t—contains a collection of the first type.

Now declare a variable based on that outer collection type —array_t—, which will serve as a two-dimensional array. In the following script, I declare such a collection—

DECLARE
l_2d_grid twodim_aa.array_t;

—and then assign values to three cells: (1,1), (1,2), and (200,206). Notice that the syntax is different from that used in traditional array cell specification, namely: (1)(1), (1)(2), and (200)(206). Also, since I am using associative arrays to define my two-dimensional array, I do not have to specify a size for this two-dimensional array.


DECLARE
l_2d_grid twodim_aa.array_t;
BEGIN
l_2d_grid (1) (1) := 100;
l_2d_grid (1) (2) := 120;
l_2d_grid (200) (206) := 200;

IF l_2d_grid (1)(2)

source of above question: http://www.oracle.com/technology/oramag/oracle/06-jan/o16plsql.html